Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro in the test: the best smartphone under 500 euros

The Pocophone F1 was a real price-breaker that delivered top-class technology for an extremely low price. Successor Poco F2 Pro hits the same notch – despite the higher price.

Xiaomi smartphones did really well in our tests in 2019. This was not only due to the great technology, but also due to the comparatively low prices of the models. It is currently different, at least in the upper class. Here, the high MSRP of the current top models Xiaomi Mi 10 (test report) and Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro (test report) may have shocked some fans, while the manufacturer has remained true to its user-friendly pricing policy for models such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro (test report).

Last but not least, Xiaomi proved that high-quality technology can also be cheap with the Pocophone F1, which offered top technology at a bargain price of less than 400 euros. The successor, the new Poco F2 Pro, however, is much more reminiscent of the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (test report) than the first Pocophone – and does everything right.

Shiny or rather matt? Curved glass or better a straight display? Easy or difficult? Questions that, in themselves, in many cases must certainly be answered individually. Ultimately, however, almost every product from a manufacturer fits the old saying: “How you do it, you do it wrong”. Because surely many interested parties will find the back of the poco F2 Pro with its glossy glass surface chic, others will point out the susceptibility to fingerprints and glass breakage. The same applies to the round camera bezel of the four lenses on the back. The look reminiscent of a conventional compact camera will surely please many, especially since the module has been placed in the center and the smartphone does not wobble on the table despite the noticeable and visible protrusion. Others will perceive this as being copied from competing products like Oneplus 7T (test report), Nokia 7.2 (test report) or Huawei Mate 30 Pro (test report).

We think: The critics may be right in part, but overall we really like the Poco F2 Pro. Not least because of its high weight of an impressive 219 grams, the smartphone looks high-quality and lies comfortably in the hand, which is not least due to the good workmanship with its gently rounded edges on the back. But it doesn’t seem too difficult. Parallels are more likely to be found with the already mentioned Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (test report) instead of the Pocophone F1. These include the red bordered power button and – probably much more – the pop-up selfie cam. Because it allows something that has long been forgotten after a short flood of smartphones with pop-up cams: a display without a notch.

Since this was combined with a largely narrow frame of the screen in the F2 Pro, the panel on the front of the F2 Pro looks even larger than it already is with its almost 6.7 inches. If one can accuse the model of one, it is the fact that the device is not only heavy, but also really big. But that will also appeal to some, but deterred others.

6.7 inches is a lot for a smartphone, in the past it was almost a tablet. Thanks to narrow edges – even if a little more of it can be seen below – the actual size is even smaller than that of much older models with a smaller screen. As usual, the display is good, Xiaomi uses OLED technology for the Poco F2 Pro, which is known for great contrasts, excellent black levels and, if desired, intensive colors. The screen of the F2 Pro impressively confirms all this, and in automatic mode it also has a particularly high brightness of around 700 cd / m². This means that no user has problems with readability outdoors – not even in direct sunlight.

On the other hand, buyers have to make very slight compromises on another point that is actually one of the prime disciplines of OLED displays: the viewing angle stability is not perfect with the new Pocophone. At least not with the protective film applied at the factory. Because while there is only a slight shading from the sides and from below when viewing from a flat angle, the contents are colored slightly greenish when viewed from the front. Fortunately, since that should hardly happen in everyday life, it is half as bad. In addition, the green cast disappears as soon as the film has been removed.

Great screen with great AOD

Instead, the screen convinces with HDR10 + suitability and a wide range of adaptable always-on displays. However, if you are looking for a refresh rate higher than 60 Hertz, you have to look elsewhere – Xiaomi skimps something here and foregoes 90 or even 120 Hertz. Realme does this better on some models, even very cheap ones. A screen with 90 Hertz (LCD) is used in the middle-class model Realme 6 (test report) and an OLED screen with 90 Hertz in the Realme X50 Pro 5G (test report). It is not without reason that we have already called Realme “the new Xiaomi” in an article.

The new Poco F2 Pro comes with four instead of two cameras as with the Pocophone F1. In the new model, the quad cam consists of the main camera with 64 megapixels and f / 1.9 aperture, the wide-angle camera with 13 megapixels and f / 2.4, also the macro camera with 5 megapixels and f / 2.2 and the depth sensor with 2 megapixels. Basically, we are reluctant to name the last two cameras as useful additions to the main and wide-angle optics. Experience has shown that macro cameras are useless in smartphones and a depth sensor is generally not necessary, as Google shows in its pixel phones. Accordingly, both lenses are more of an eyewash to beautiful the data sheet. With the F2 Pro, however, this could be something else, at least with the macro camera, because with 5 megapixels it offers significantly more than the 2 megapixel competition that Xiaomi shockingly even installs in its upper-class model Mi 10 (test report). Too bad: The Poco F2 Pro is based on the Redmi K30 Pro available in Asia, which is also available in a zoom edition, but the manufacturer does not use a corresponding magnifying lens for the F2 Pro.

Even the macro camera is fine

The main camera comes in conjunction with a Sony IMX686 sensor, which supports an 8K video function in the new Pocophone. In good lighting conditions, the chip scores with great sharpness, rich but largely natural colors and an overall very clear appearance. In addition, there is an almost natural-looking bokeh that Xiaomi has always missed its cameras. This also applies to portrait shots where the distinction between foreground and background works well and where the user can change the focus afterwards.

The autofocus works very reliably overall, compared to other models of the manufacturer, the focus range is slightly larger. Objects such as individual flowers are therefore sharp in their entirety and not just selective. The wide-angle lens with a visible range of 123 degrees cannot keep up with the main camera in terms of image sharpness, but at least at first glance the quality is convincing thanks to good image dynamics and decent color rendering.

The macro camera offers a positive surprise. Although with its 5 megapixels it does not deliver crisp pictures, in contrast to the 2 megapixels in other devices, it is at least useful. However, since, depending on the motif, the post-processing via software that tries to compensate for the still low resolution is clearly visible, we would have preferred an optical zoom despite occasionally exciting insights into a very own microcosm. It would also have been better suited to the price point of the Poco F2 Pro. After all, the macro camera in the Poco F2 Pro is usable.

The portrait function of the front camera shows that the depth sensor of the main camera is actually not necessary. There are no great differences to portrait shots with the main camera, overall the picture quality of the 20 megapixel camera in front is really good. In addition, retracting and extending the front camera from the housing frame on the forehead of the smartphone – not least because of the visual and acoustic background – always provides an exciting spectacle and allows a notch-free display. Incidentally, reports of defects of previous models can hardly be found on the net.

Great pop-up camera

As mentioned, videos with the main camera are possible with 8K resolution, but this is gimmick. However, the smartphone benefits indirectly from the high maximum resolution in other ways: Videos in 4K / 60 are still surprisingly well stabilized and therefore look really great. Only FHD / 30 videos are possible in the front, but this should be sufficient for most areas of application. In addition to special VLOG and film modes, the Poco F2 Pro offers help with straight alignment for video recordings and tracking of moving objects via autofocus, and users can even film in macro mode. A particularly stabilized mode also creates a real steady-cam feeling. Xiaomi has implemented the camera quite convincingly overall.

Smartphones with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 still easily cost over 500 euros – except for the Poco F2 Pro. As in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro (test report), interested parties will find the octa-core clocked at up to 2.8 GHz also in the manufacturer’s budget model, where it is supported by 6 or 8 GB of RAM depending on the version. The size of the internal memory also depends on the version: 6 GB RAM is coupled with 128 GB memory, 8 GB with 256 GB. Neither version can be expanded.

Thanks to the design as LPDDR4X and UFS memory (3.1), the modern memory provides rapid performance, in the larger version there is even LPDDR5-RAM. in the Antutu-Benchmark comes our 6/128 GB model to around 570,000 points, which underpins the very good subjective impression that the model leaves. The only restriction: Despite all the power, the Poco F2 Pro does not feel like models like a Oneplus 8 Pro (test report) with 120 Hz, which scroll a bit more smoothly. The F2 Pro is definitely not slow. This means that nothing stands in the way of gaming, especially since Xiaomi has affected special cooling arrangements that are even certified by TÜV Rheinland.

Thanks to the modern chip, the connectivity of the Poco F2 Pro is excellent. The comparatively cheap smartphone already has Bluetooth 5.1, Wifi 6 and standards such as NFC, LTE, 5G and dual GPS with the support of Glonass and Beidou are already on board. As almost always, Xiaomi also installs an IR blaster, which turns the F2 Pro into a remote control for TV or air conditioning. The F2 Pro does not swallow micro SDs, but it does swallow 2 SIMs. Xiaomi also thought of a connection for a jack plug.

However, the USB-C port, which only allows connections at 2.0 speeds, does not quite fit the rest of the range of top technology. This was already noticeable on the significantly more expensive models Xiaomi Mi 10 (test report) and Mi 10 Pro (test report). Even fans of stereo speakers will not get their money’s worth, even if the single mono speaker is powerful without overdriving too much. The Inprint fingerprint sensor works quickly and reliably in most cases, provided you put your finger on it with enough pressure.

The power button is colored red

The manufacturer relies on Xiaomi’s MIUI 11, which is above Android 10, for the software. The biggest difference is probably the existence of an app drawer, which the Mi 10 (test report) lacks. It even allows apps to be subdivided into categories; corresponding apps are not only assigned manually, but automatically. The launcher of the Poco F2 Pro offers many setting options, even the front camera can be customized – as was the case with the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (test report).

In addition to light and sound effects when the pop-up cam is extended and retracted, a small white light ring also acts as a notification LED. Although it is not overly visible due to its placement on the front, most users should only use it as a supplement to the great always-on display anyway. A negative surprise is the security patch, which comes from our test device from April 2020 – that was almost 3 months ago at the time of the test.

With its 4700 mAh, the battery of the Poco F2 Pro is one of the larger representatives of its kind Battery test from PCmark: Almost 14.5 hours at 200 cd / m² are a really good value that not many smartphones achieve. Together with our test experiences in everyday life, we can speak with conviction of a good 2 days runtime with normal, regular use – long since no normality with smartphones.

One reason for the good performance in addition to the energy-efficient technology and the optimized user interface: The screen with “only” 60 Hz eats less power than the competition with 90 or even 120 Hz. Here, the more common value even offers advantages. In this context, the new Pocophone is not quite on par with the competition when it comes to buckle charging: While other models such as the Realme X50 Pro 5G (test report) have already reached 65 watts, Xiaomi still uses 30 watts in its “economy model”. Although the device does not achieve a bad value (just over 1 hour for a full charge), it is now faster. There is no wireless charging on the F2 Pro.

The MSRP for the version with 6/128 GB is 499 euros, the large version with 8/256 at 599 euros. If there is no expandability of the memory, we advise you to use the larger version. The prices for both variants start at the time of testing at 431 and 531 euros, the colors gray, blue and purple are available.

The Poco F2 Pro is certainly not the perfect smartphone – depending on the focus, little things like IP certification, wireless charging, a telephoto lens of the camera or a more recent security patch are missing. However, the smartphone does what it offers consistently right. It starts with the display, which at best can be accused of the standard refresh rate of 60 Hz, goes beyond the outstanding performance thanks to the current high-end chipset, continues with a lot of memory and great battery life.

In addition, there is an overall great camera packed in a chic robe and a pleasantly low price, so anyone who is satisfied with something less than the absolute best should be more than happy. Xiaomi thus not only delivers a worthy, albeit more expensive successor for the Pocophone F1, but also one for the terrific Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (test report) from 2019. This overall package currently makes the Pocophone F2 Pro one of the best smartphones under 500 Euro.

Alternatives are not easy, but there are. There is, for example, the Realme X50 Pro 5G (test report), which even has a 90 Hz display with similar features, but is still more expensive. Smartphones such as the Huawei P30 Pro (test report), Samsung Galaxy S10e (test report) or Oneplus 7T (test report) are now similarly expensive – and these were all top models last year.